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Tags: Marco Rubio | Marco Rubio | Wi-Fi | Cory Booker | Internet | bill

Rubio and Booker Team Up on Bill for Faster Wi-Fi Speeds

Rubio and Booker Team Up on Bill for Faster Wi-Fi Speeds
(Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Landov; Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Monday, 23 March 2015 12:32 PM

Florida GOP Sen. Marco Rubio and New Jersey Democratic Sen. Cory Booker are working together on a bill that would help pave the way to faster Internet speeds, Vox reported.

The new legislation aims to expand the number of frequencies that Wi-Fi chips can use to communicate given that many of the current frequencies are overcrowded, leading to slower download speeds.

Already, the new frequencies have been approved for use in advanced car-to-car communication technology, but it is unclear whether the technologies for home Internet could co-exist with the automotive ones.

To date, the government has only provided a limited number of "channels" for Wi-Fi communication, Vox noted. In areas with high population rates, competition for Wi-Fi capacity is stiff.

Booker and Rubio's legislation would expand the number of Wi-Fi chips available at different frequencies and encourage the Federal Communications Commission to widen the band that newer chips are using.

The difficulty is that car companies are already using the new frequencies that would allow vehicles to communicate to prevent crashes.

So far, Rubio and Booker's bill has not received much support from the Intelligent Transportation Society of America, a coalition of government agencies and for-profit companies working on the development of these technologies. The U.S. Department of Transportation is also resistant. It worries that use of new Wi-Fi chips for private Internet use could interfere with vehicle-to-vehicle communications.

However, those in favor of the bill say there are ways to resolve those concerns using technology: new wireless chips have the ability to check whether a particular frequency is in use before transmitting on it.

Rubio and Booker want to force the FCC to conduct a feasibility study and open the frequencies for the new chips. The FCC is likely to pursue such an approach only if it can guarantee that there will not be interferences with others already using the frequencies, such as the car technology.

"Spectrum is a valuable yet limited resource that must be utilized effectively and efficiently," Rubio said in a statement last month, according to Vox. "By requiring the FCC to conduct testing that would provide more spectrum to the public, we are ultimately putting the resource to better use."

"Access to wireless spectrum opens the door for innovation and transformative new technologies," Booker said, according to Vox. "It can help bridge the digital divide that leaves too many low-income communities removed from the evolving technology landscape."

The senators introduced the legislation last month, while lawmakers in the House introduced a similar measure at the same time.

A number of public interest groups, such as the American Library Association and Public Knowledge, support the legislation. In addition, numerous technology companies support the idea of expanding Wi-Fi, including Google and Microsoft.

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Florida GOP Sen. Marco Rubio and New Jersey Democratic Sen. Cory Booker are working together on a bill that would help pave the way to faster Internet speeds, Vox reported.
Marco Rubio, Wi-Fi, Cory Booker, Internet, bill
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2015-32-23
Monday, 23 March 2015 12:32 PM
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